Occasionally I produce sub-par work. It happens when I am “low energy.” My writing turns clunky, I make silly mistakes, and I waste precious time.
Low energy simply means that I talk less, don’t feel like moving around, and don’t get excited. I’m not necessarily tired, just disconnected.
The most frustrating part of it all is that these down days have nothing to do with motivation or skill. I am genuinely motivated to do great work, and am interested in the topics, goals, methods, and people that cross my professional path. Yet sometimes I just can’t push myself to operate.
So even though I’ve picked up tons of tips along the way – such as reorganizing my to-do list, changing my location or scenery, going for a walk, grabbing an extra coffee, listening to up-beat music, or sometimes just forcing myself to dive in – I still can’t effectively push myself over the hump.
WTF! Am I lazy?
I don’t think so. Other days you can’t get me to STOP working. I churn out great ideas, build effective strategies, garner amazing results, act quickly… essentially can’t turn my brain off.
Unfortunately, people have given up on me based on these occasional low energy days. They didn’t see the whole me, just my flaws in the moment, and wrote me off as inconsistent. I try not to let this get me down. I know inside that I am worthy and capable. I just might have to wait for a high energy day to come around! Then watch out 😉
Today happens to be one of those low energy days. So rather than waste time working in circles, I am being productive in a non-traditional way.
I’m gathering intel.
Turning to my feedly and Twitter feed, I am reading, absorbing, and flagging ideas that I can act on when I have more energy. Maybe I can’t produce the best website copy or PR strategy today, but I can get inspired, really inspired, and produce even better work tomorrow.
This process really works for me, but it’s taken a lot of time to get comfortable with the concept. In the past I was taught to feel guilty about down days. I always had to be on and ready to jump. But that’s just not possible for me 365 days of the year.
Finally I am in an environment that understands this and let’s me work how I need to. Deadlines are more fluid, there’s less pressure to act upbeat (I can actually be human and have off days!), tactics are flexible, and people are understanding.
With less rigidity I am able to produce better results, be more creative, and reach maximum potential. Imagine that?!